Following Atlanta FaZe’s $100,000 Call of Duty: Warzone tournament, popular community figures and former CoD pros TeeP and Merk have both criticized the kill race format and called for future big-money events to abandon it in favor of more competitive options.
The Atlanta FaZe $100K Gold Rush tournament was the biggest Warzone event of the year and, despite handing out gold bars worth over $50,000 each, it ended somewhat unceremoniously. Compared to traditional bracket formats, the event was a timed kill race that drew numerous criticisms over lobby luck.
In the Gold Rush, each duo got five hours to play as many games as they wanted and compile their five highest-scoring games by the end of the event. This is in contrast to traditional bracket formats, like 2v2 Quad tourneys, which pit teams against each other in shared lobbies.
Following accusations that JoeWo and Stukawaki won the event because they got to abuse easier lobbies on a Hawaii host, Tyler ‘TeeP’ Polchow and Joe ‘Merk’ DeLuca have argued against the kill races.
Having actually competed in the event, TeeP was more colorfully adamant about abolishing kill races: “That format’s garbage. Kill races need to go away forever. The same little group of people performs dramatically better than the rest of the field and it’s bulls**t.”
Noting that the format lends itself to some people ending up with easier lobbies, TeeP points out the “kill discrepancy,” claims that “people finesse their way,” and ultimately calls it unfair for those reasons.
While TeeP doesn’t address specific ways people can finesse the format, there are numerous examples from earlier tournaments. In this one, JoeWo and Stukawaki were accused of using Stu’s Hawaii host for easier lobbies, while former events saw players accused of skewing SBMM by tanking games in Plunder prior to competing.
When asked about kill races, Merk was similarly critical: “They’re the worst format … they stink.”
But the pro-turned-caster also explained why the format makes sense from an organizer’s perspective. Unlike highly competitive double-elimination brackets, Merk mentions that kill races are normally shorter events and allow more variety in invited content creators.
Ultimately, though, both Merk and TeeP agree that kill races are an unideal format for big-money Warzone events. While fans appear to be split on the issue, and some players prefer shorter runtimes, these critiques generally follow the pro consensus.
In the future, it will be interesting to find out if bigger events shift to 2v2 Quads or other formats that nullify lobby RNG and manipulation — such as custom lobbies and Odd Man Outs.